Clothes Make the Woman

I'll be hanging out with Jenna Weissman Joselit tonight at an event at the JCC. She's a visiting prof at Princeton and writes for the New Republic. Her book Wonders of America is a brilliant romp on assimilation.


Dabru Emet

I met yesterday with Rev. Chris Leighton of the National Institute of Jewish-Christian Studies down in Baltimore. He was up speaking with the Presbyterains Concerned for Jewish- Christian Relations, the group which continues to work on the recent anti-Israel actions of the Presbyterian general assembly.

Tickets! Get your tickets!

Tickets are now on sale for Vital Signs Play Festival, which features Driving School of America - my new one-act - running December 1-5.



This past Sunday night I watched the Nir Bergman film Broken Wings -- a new Israeli film that speaks in a simple, raw emotional language. The film has shades of the Ice Storm and In America -- focusing on family tragedy and the search for something to hold onto when everything is lost. Stunning.


Talkin' 'bout my generation

I spent the first part of the week out in LA at the Faith, Fear and Indifference Conference at USC, which focused on how teenagers, post 9-11 think about religion. Moralistic Theraputic Deism was the big theme. But the highlights were Brother John from Taize and Amira Quraishi speaking on the Muslim Youth Camp. We had dinner with USC's president, who spoke about the unique role private schools have in fostering religious identity. It was inspiring.


Big News

In the big news department -- My latest play, Driving School of America has been accepted in Vital Signs 9 - a festival of one acts at the VitalTheater in New York. The theater is on 42nd street next to Playwright's Horizons and the run begins December 1st!!!!

A New Poem

Poetry is not my life

Ferllenghtti sits perched atop the bathroom radiator
And I savor a page every time my body recycles
Thanking God for the openings and the hollow places
And the subtlety of uncapitalized letters
Though a dozen boxes of notebooks with scribbled fragments of verse
will crush you if you attempt to open my closet door
Poetry is not my life
Though there was a time
When I left my cozy air conditioned world
rode a beat up bicycle to the dangerous part of town
Picked through dumpsters to find relics of reality
Searched for poems in the broken glass under the train tracks
Talked to old folks, whose bodies reeked of ten varieties of decay,
Whose untreated wounds had festered, discolored,
Whose rotted teeth clicked a different rhythm for each tale,
The young people called me ain’t from the ghetto
And that, too, I made into a poem
Poetry is not my life
What is?
Let me begin by saying that I’ve changed a thousand diapers
A real man changes a thousand diapers
But my beloved changed two thousand
So I best not open my mouth
Poetry is not my life
I pay bills for natural gas
I insulate the attic – it’s itchy
I work in front of a computer screen
I wash out the thermoses from the kid’s lunchboxes
Poetry is not my life
Thank God I have money
I like those English water crackers with a slice of fancy feta cheese
And my children have health care coverage
And I can do my laundry in my basement
When you have too little or too much
Money plays with your mind
Since I have some money
Poetry is not my life
My life is taking the shortcut through the tire store parking lot to catch the train
My life is trying to change the world by making minor adjustments
My life is trying to get my kids to finish their Cheerios
Oil changes
Dental appointments

And though I wish I could end with irony
Poetry is not my life


From Russia, With Love

I spoke to a delegation of Russian Muslims last week as part of a U.S. State Department visit. Here's a photo and brief description. When I spoke about Beslan and the horror I felt when seeing the killing of children in the school seige one of the women asked why Americans do not feel horror about the killing of Iraqi children by U.S. artillery. Intense moment.